AP Psychology : Defining Abnormalities and Disorders

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

Example Question #221 : Ap Psychology

Which neurotransmitter inhibits excitation, and can promote a decrease in anxiety?

Possible Answers:

Serotonin

Dopamine

GABA 

Acetylcholine

Norepinephrine

Correct answer:

GABA 

Explanation:

"GABA" (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and is found throughout the neurons of the cortex. GABA deficiencies have been linked to anxiety disorders, and some anxiolytics (anxiety medications) work by increasing quantities of GABA available at neuron receptor sites.

The other choices are incorrect. "Serotonin" is primarily associated with regulating mood, appetite, and sleep, and is also implicated in nociception (sensation of pain). This neurotransmitter plays a major role in depression, but not necessarily anxiety. "Dopamine" is a major component of the reward system, and plays a role in arousal, motivation, motor control. "Norepinephrine" is mainly involved in preparing the body for action, for instance the 'flight or fight' response. It increases vigilance and alertness, focuses attention and improves memory recall and formation. Raised levels of norepinephrine can result in anxiety by way of increased stress. Last, "acetylcholine" is associated with motor neurons, and provides signals for the body to contract muscles. Drugs affecting this neurotransmitter thus may lead to paralysis or convulsions. In the brain acetylcholine plays a role in attention, arousal, and motivation.

Example Question #21 : Anxiety And Trauma Related Disorders

According to the DSM-V, which of the following is not classified as an anxiety disorder?

Possible Answers:

Specific phobia

Anorexia nervosa

Generalized anxiety disorder

Agoraphobia

Panic disorder

Correct answer:

Anorexia nervosa

Explanation:

"Anorexia nervosa" is an eating disorder characterized by a low weight, a fear of gaining weight, a strong desire to be thin, and food restriction. Although anorexia nervosa involves symptoms of anxiety (e.g. worried about gaining weight), it is not classified as an anxiety disorder. 

Example Question #21 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

A 6-year-old child, Lucas, is referred to psychological professional by his pediatrician. Lucas presents symptoms characterized by excessive anxiety and worry that occurs across a wide range of contexts and environments (e.g. school and home). He has difficulty falling asleep, is often irritable, and has trouble concentrating on classwork. Which of the following is the best diagnosis for Lucas?

Possible Answers:

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder

Depression

Separation anxiety disorder

Autism

Correct answer:

Generalized anxiety disorder

Explanation:

"Generalized anxiety disorder" (GAD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety and excessive worry and tension, even when nothing seems to be wrong. Lucas' symptoms best fit a diagnosis of GAD. Since Lucas' anxiety does not only occur during a separation from his primary caregiver, he should not receive a diagnosis of separation anxiety disorder (SAD). All of the other answer choices do not accurately represent Lucas' symptomology.

Example Question #22 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

_________________ disorders are a class of mental illnesses marked by feelings of excessive apprehension, nervousness, or worry.

Possible Answers:

Dissociative

Psychotic

Mood

Anxiety

Correct answer:

Anxiety

Explanation:

 Anxiety disorders are marked by excessive anxiety such as apprehension, nervousness, or worry. Mood disorders have to do with severe changes in one's mood (e.g., depression). Psychotic disorders are characterized by losing touch with reality through hallucinations or delusions. Dissociative disorders involve losing contact with portions of their consciousness or memory.

Example Question #22 : Anxiety And Trauma Related Disorders

A(n) __________________ is a(n) _________________ disorder that is characterized by a persistent and irrational fear of an object or situation that presents no realistic danger.

Possible Answers:

phobia . . . anxiety

panic attack . . . mood

panic attack . . . anxiety

phobia . . . mood

Correct answer:

phobia . . . anxiety

Explanation:

Phobias are anxiety disorders that are characterized by a strong fearfulness of an object (e.g., snakes, spiders, cars) or situation (being in an elevator, being in small spaces) that presents no realistic danger. A panic attack is not a disorder.

Example Question #21 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Martha suffered a terrible car accident three years ago and was injured. Since that time, she has had difficulty returning to normal life and is distressed in her everyday life. Specifically, she often has frightening dreams about the incident, avoids driving/riding in cars as much as possible, and she can't seem to shake feelings of irritability and anger that started after the accident. Based on this scenario, Martha most likely suffers from _________________.
Possible Answers:

depression

bipolar disorder

post-traumatic stress disorder

no mental illness

Correct answer:

post-traumatic stress disorder

Explanation:
Martha is distressed in her everyday life and has behaviors and mood changes that deviate from normality for the past three years. Based on these facts, it is most likely that Martha meets criteria for a mental disorder. Her symptoms started after a traumatic event and she has intrusive dreams, avoidance, and mood changes since the event. Put together, it is most likely that she has post-traumatic stress disorder. She could have depression or bipolar, but the only symptom that fits is the irritability and anger. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the best answer.

Example Question #21 : Anxiety And Trauma Related Disorders

What is the most commonly diagnosed type of eating disorder?

Possible Answers:

Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED)

All of these

Bulimia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa

Binge eating disorder

Correct answer:

Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED)

Explanation:

The majority of eating disorders fall under the category “other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED). Previously, the percentage of cases was between 62.3 to 72.9%. With the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) the projected rate has gone down to 32.6 to 50.8%. It is difficult to get exact statistics for a variety of reasons, and this is also one of the reasons that many eating disorders are diagnosed in the "other" category.

Example Question #21 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

What is the difference between bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder?

Possible Answers:

In bipolar I disorder, a person will experience full manic episdoes; in bipolar II disorder, a person will experience only mild manic episodes

Bipolar I disorder is a diagnosis given to adults, whereas bipolar II disorder is a diagnosis given to children and adolescents

Bipolar I disorder has symptoms that last more than two years, whereas bipolar II disorder has symptoms that dissipate before the two-year mark

None of the other answers

In bipolar I disorder, a person will experience full depressive episodes; in bipolar II disorder, a person will experience only mild depressive episodes

Correct answer:

In bipolar I disorder, a person will experience full manic episdoes; in bipolar II disorder, a person will experience only mild manic episodes

Explanation:

Bipolar I disorder is classified as a type of bipolar disorder that is marked by full manic and major depressive episodes.

Bipolar II disorder is classified as a type of bipolar disorder that is marked by mild manic and major depressive episodes.

Example Question #1 : Bipolar Disorder

In bipolar disorders, individuals exhibit signs of mania and depression. Which of the following answers is not a symptom of mania?

Possible Answers:

Poor judgement, planning, and foresight about the potential consequences of their actions

Feelings of euphoria and joy that are out of proportion to the actual happenings in a person's life

Decreased desire to and need for sleep

Feelings of remarkable energy

All of these answers are symptoms of mania

Correct answer:

All of these answers are symptoms of mania

Explanation:

People experiencing mania swing to the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of symptoms from people experiencing depression. Those in a manic state typically experience dramatic and inappropriate rises in mood and activity. These symptoms span all areas of functioning—emotional, motivational, behavioral, cognitive, and physical. A person in a manic state has powerful emotions of euphoric joy. This intense euphoria drives them to want constant excitement, be very active, act flamboyantly, make hasty and impulsive decisions, experience feelings of inflated self-esteem, and remain active even when getting very little sleep.

Example Question #22 : Defining Abnormalities And Disorders

Which of the following is a difference between a manic episode and a hypomanic episode?

Possible Answers:

A hypomanic episode lasts longer than a manic episode

A hypomanic episode is not severe enough to require inpatient hospitalization

Hypomanic episodes do not happen to people with bipolar disorder, while manic episodes do

Hypomanic episodes only occur in children and adolescents

A hypomanic episode has more depressive symptoms than a manic episode

Correct answer:

A hypomanic episode is not severe enough to require inpatient hospitalization

Explanation:

A hypomanic episode is a period of persistently elevated or irritable mood that lasts for at least four days. This episode is markedly different from the person's usual mood, and it is not severe enough to cause occupational hazards or require hospitalization.

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